Re: Changed topic to skills we need - Warning! I am wordy.

Subject: Re: Changed topic to skills we need - Warning! I am wordy.
From: "Anthony Markatos" <tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: sharonburton -at- earthlink -dot- net, tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2000 10:34:45 PST

Tony Markatos said:

The problem with Technical Writers who also devote a significant amount of their energies in learning DTP, pre-production, etc, is that they inevitably decrease there efforts in doing (end-user task analysis, estimating, and other planning tasks) . Usability suffers greatly!

Sharon Burton-Hardin responded:

No learning is ever wasted. The time I spent in the trenches learning the pre-production stuff has paid off on every project I have been on. Every one. I can offer the client a range of What we can deliver the manual as and why each option has good and bad things about it. The time I spent learning document design/DTP - again in the trenches - has paid off similarly.

Tony Markatos responds:

And I spend alot of time learning myself - most recently, I obtained an indepth knowledge of Sybase SQL, before that PageMaker, before that C++, and on-and-on.

Geepers man - its not about learning new stuff! Its about creating highly usable documentation. And to the degree that a Tech Writer devotes his/her energies to DTP, pre-production, and all other technologies involved with (what JoAnn Hackos calls) Technical Writing "manufacturing" tasks, he/she moves away from performing necessary Technical Writing planning tasks (things like end-user task analysis and estimating).

Sharon Burtin-Hardin said:

Usability has increased for all my documents/online help/templates/etc.

Tony Markatos responds:

What you are saying is that you are good at everything: end-user task analysis, estimating, project management, DTP, pre-production, - everything. You might be, but few others are. I've seen alot of technical communicators in action; I'll restate: To the degree that a TW devotes his/her energy in "manufacturing" tasks, he/she devotes less energy in "planning" tasks.

Sharon Burtin-Hardin said:

We also work from plans in my company. We estimate how long things are going to take and work to those plans. And - pardon the caps here but this is really important - WE CAN ONLY MAKE THOSE ESTIMATES BECAUSE WE KNOW HOW LONG/WHAT CAN GO WRONG IN THE DTP/PRE-PRODUCTION/EVERYTHING ELSE DEPARTMENT.

Tony Markatos responds:

You, and your co-workers truly are very intelligent. And I must admit, I don't know anything about estimating for DTP and pre-production. I DO know a lot about estimating for TW analysis and design activities. And I know that:

1.) Unless a TW has a strong background in analysis and planning, they can not estimate for such.
2.) To the degree that TWs devote their energies to "manufacturing" tasks, they devote less energies to "planning" tasks (you and your people, of course, excluded).

Sharon Burtin-Hardin said:

I think you are narrowing your world for other reasons.

Tony Markatos responds:

Saaay what?

Sharon Burtin-Hardin said:

I teach tech writing and several software programs at the local university. I see people like you. You may want to look at why you need to narrow your world to be so small and what might happen if you decided to learn things you think you are not good at.

Tony Markatos responds:

I'm currently learning Java. I recently obtained an indepth knowledge of Sybase SQL - performing alot of complex database joins can get real "hairy"! I do public speaking at a volunteer organization that I belong to - a difficult thing for me to do, but I enjoy the challenge. Why are you being so defensive by throwing out such falsehoods? I don't tell falsehoods about you.

Tony Markatos
(tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com)

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